- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2017


Susan Polis Schutz goes for the root of all anxiety in her short doc “It’s Just Anxiety,” in which the filmmaker follows people so terribly afflicted by panic episodes and obsessive compulsions as to make their lives unlivable. The statistics of mental illness cited are indeed sobering, but not nearly as much as beholding one interview subject who will not touch anything, even in her own home, without gloves, and any contact with human, animal or stationary object sends her to the restroom for a lengthy cleansing ritual.

Over 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety and irrational fears — Ms. Schutz among them — and one of the most fascinating parts of the doc has subjects telling the camera they are aware of how irrational the fears of others are, and thus, with some helping, hopefully too can be their own.

Jamie Blyth, known for the first season of “The Bachelor,” tells of how he forced himself onto the show as a way to deal with his paralyzing social unease, essentially putting himself in a situation he knew where he would be uncomfortable, but it was the only way to deal with the problem. One would think, based on his looks and kind demeanor alone, that Mr. Blyth would have no trouble attracting attention from the opposite sex, but the demons within made him withdraw into himself for much of his life.

A fascinating film, all the more so for showing the subjects later, after continued therapy, making progress.

The demons can be faced, and beaten.

“It’s Just Anxiety” will air on the District’s WHUT Wednesday at 9 a.m., May 27 at 1 p.m. and May 31 at 3 a.m.

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